Nintendo has also been seriously thinking about the idea of a controller with a screen attached for some time, based on comments by the company in its recent Q&A session with investors.
Genyo Takeda, Nintendo’s senior managing director and general manager of the integrated research and development division (!), responded to a question about differentiating Wii U from other hardware manufacturers, and dropped this tidbit.
“So, how to differentiate the Wii U in terms of brand-new uniqueness with other video game systems is important,” he said, “and regarding this point, all I can say today is, we now have the new controller which revolves around the original concept of the Wii Remote, and the developers can take advantage of multiple screens, which enable them to leverage upon the unique combination of a big TV screen and a smaller screen in player’s hands.”
Even though Wii U is coming many years after Wii, if Takeda isn’t just messing with us, what we’re seeing with Wii U is simply fulfilling part of an idea Nintendo has been kicking around for a while.
The Wii remote and nunchuck will both be compatible with Wii U. A Nintendo patent was discovered last year detailing a version of the Wii remote with a touchpad display, essentially bringing the whole thing full circle.
You should read the whole Q&A, which also includes extensive comments from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata and designer Shigeru Miyamoto. There are no startling revelations--that will come at E3--but it’s all interesting.